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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. first, our conversation with nobel prize-winning economist joseph stiglitz. his latest book is about how the u.s. has mishandled the financial crisis. also, our conversation with michael bernard beckwith, founder of the agape international spiritual center. he is also author of the recent book, "spiritual liberation." they are coming up right now. >> there are so many things that walmart is looking forward to doing, like helping people live better. but mostly, we're helping build stronger communities and relationships. because with your help, the best is yet to come. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports "tavis smiley." tavis and nationwide, working to improve financial literacy
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and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: joseph stiglitz is a nobel prize-winning economist whose new book is called "freefall." mr. stiglitz, could have you back on this program. >> nice to be here. tavis: i have not seen you since this was news, although it is old news at this point. did ben bernanke deserve the honor of person of the year?
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>> well, he certainly get some credit for bringing us back from the brink, but he deserves a lot of blame for pushing us to the brink. it depends on how you balance that. the fact that the fed, he and his predecessor, alan greenspan, were largely responsible for the mismanagement of the economy, failing to have regulations that would have stopped us from getting into this mess, even as we have been pulled back from the brink. unemployment has soared. people have said we will not be back to normal unemployment until the middle of the decade. yes, it is great the banks are paying bonuses again, it is great they are making big profits. america is still in not good
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shape. tavis: how do you respond to the notion that i have read that the obama team, speaking of bernanke, that the obama economic team, tim geithner, larry summer, that group, there is not a stiglitz-like voice in that group? you hear the critique all the time of what is missing on the economic team. what are your thoughts? >> i think one of the strengths of clinton's economic team is it ranged all the way from the right, secretary of labor, to rubin, secretary of the treasury, left to right, with people in the center. i think that is valuable. we had a very fierce debate. on corporate welfare, how much money to give corporations.
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there were really divided ideas on that. i think there is concern because the president does not get that diversity of opinions, he may not be always making the best decisions. for instance, two examples, one of them is is a good thing that he finally did something for mortgages, but he did not do enough. one out of four american mortgages are under water and almost nothing is being done for these people. they cannot restructure their mortgage. the result is there are a number of mortgages going into foreclosure, and that is likely to be higher in 2010 than 2009. another example is the stimulus. the economy was in very bad shape. those on the other side, many of
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whom were responsible for the deregulation that brought us to the brink, were trying to minimize the travails of the economy. after all, the problems were partly a result of what they had done, and they wanted to say, things are not that bad. the result is besides the stimulus, the president did not get that kind of choice. he was given a choice between $800 billion and $600 billion. tavis: the argument is they could not have gotten what joseph stiglitz wants through congress. >> i think it would've been more valuable to have an intense debate, with even the politics discussed. one of the things i talk about and "freefall," in the strategy of muddling through, you will face a problem where the unemployment rate will be
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unacceptably high. it is almost 10%. more than one out of 50 americans who would like a full- time job cannot get one. people are not going to understand, because you told them that it would worked. they see unemployment going up. they will blame the stimulus for not working, when the reappoint is it worked, it was just not big enough. -- when the real point is it worked, it was just not big enough. tavis: there is another notion that if you do not like obama's economic team, many of his team was responsible for getting us in the mess by not getting a chance to get us out of the mess. it>> it is sort of like a plumber who puts in bad plumbing, and then you call back
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the plumber with the notion they are the only one who knows where all the kinks are. i think there is certain validity to the argument, but you have to say, it might make a difference and how you see the world. if you are basically on the side that markets it worked with stiffer regulation, it is hard to change that mind-set. i think this crisis has been bad enough that it has been an educational experience, even for those who were wed to this philosophy. tavis: what at this point have we learned and what evidence do you see we have learned it? >> one of the things we have learned is that unfettered markets on the road could not work. you need regulation. -- unfettered markets on their own do not work. in need regulation. -- they need regulation.
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the two big to fail banks, we the taxpayers pick up the tab. that is the kind of thing that economists predict it would be a problem as the banks got bigger and bigger, and we have seen it. now, we should have realized this, and therefore high on the agenda should be doing something about the too big to fail banks. originally, the obama administration did very little about that. the good news is, beginning in some of the second round of the initiative last month, they have begun to talk about the need to do something about the two big to fail banks, the fact they are in effect subsidized by us, which means they should pay a tax. because they are too big to fail, depositors are willing to give them money at low interest rates because, in effect, they know they are underwritten by
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the government. tavis: over one year in, how much credibility is there in the argument made by the obama administration that they inherited this mess? wendy you own it? >> -- when do you own it? >> it is clear they inherited this mess. it is clear that could have done more to get us out. but we needed a larger stimulus, bigger program for mortgages, a better program for bank restructuring, more regulation. but all of this would have just mitigated the crisis. it would not have stopped it. you ask, when can we shift the blame? i think we will never be able to shift the blame. when you do something as bad as what happened, it takes years to
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get out from under the rubble. in that sense, it is clearly still the fault of what he inherited. still, at some point, he said, i wish he had done more. he could have done more. the longer it goes, the greater that anger will be, particularly with bank regulation. how do we continue, more than a year later, we fail to put in regulations to stop this from happening again? tavis: why has there not been more focused on an agenda for the middle class and the poor? why has, at least until recently, talking about jobs, jobs, jobs, why has the focus back on wall street? >> that goes a little bit to the first question. you bring in people whose mind
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said it is linked to the financial markets, they thought all we have to do is fix the financial markets and then the economy takes off again. whereas people like me, we have been pointing out, not know, the problems are deeper than that. what sustained the american economy before the crisis was the unsustainable bubble. that is gone and there is nothing there to replace it. even after you fix the banks, there are deep problems in our economy and our society. tavis: you talk in the book extensively about markets running amok, that they cannot do the job. the question now, what role does government play? you do not run away from the argument there is a role for the government to play, but what is the role?
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>> there are several roles. one of them is to stop the kind of bad behavior that has been so pervasive. literally, trillions of dollars. the government criticizes the waist, but no government has ever wasted money on the scale the private financial sector has done in this crisis and the consequences of the crisis. also, the government has a positive role. what is the most important innovation the last part of the 20th century? it was the internet. it was the government that helped create the internet. we forget the positive role that it plays, the positive role in education, positive roles and so many other areas, health, basic research at universities. unfortunately, some of the conservatives try to dichotomize, they try to state government, bad, private sector,
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good. they did not realize that much of the good things that come out of the private sector or built on the foundation provided by the government. that is why i say there needs to be a better balance. tavis: he is the winner of the nobel prize in economics, and a voice that needs to be heard in this debate, joseph stiglitz . the latest book is called, " freefall." up next, rev. michael bernard beckwith, founder of the agape international spiritual center. stay with us. michael bernard beckwith is founder and spiritual director of the agape international spiritual center and southern california. you can also pick up a copy of his most recent book, "spiritual
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liberation: fulfilling your soul's potential." michael beck with, thank you for being here. thank you for all this stuff. have you been good? >> i have. tavis: when you say spiritual liberation, you mean what? >> being free from the doubt and fear most people live in. most people make decisions from insecurity or doubt and watery, and they make their decisions from that. when you are spiritually liberated, you start to tap into the well-being of your spiritual nature, which arrived from intuition, deep connection to life. it is a different way of living. tavis: it is a place or journey? >> it is a continual journey, with in sight along the way. as we begin to develop spiritual practices, it gives us revelations that speak to us in
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a way that we can understand, that totally alters our perception and our world. tavis: is the ongoing journey to spiritual liberation, are there any number of ways to get there? >> absolutely, there is no direct route, even though there is some spiritual technology that would be quicker than others and some ways of thinking that are quicker. everybody has a unique soul, made in the image and likeness of god, so everyone comes about it differently. tavis: we are different, but if god is the same, why do we take different routes to get to god? >> because of the fact that we are unique expressions of god. who you are and the experiences you have, your perception is different from mine. you will go left when i would
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probably go right based on our own uniqueness. tavis: how do we ever know what is wrong, what is right, good, bad, acceptable or not, if -- and you did not say this -- if each of loss can write our own rules, how do we know what is right and wrong? >> you have freedom to do whatever you want to do. there are laws in the universe. there are mental and spiritual laws as well. as one develops, wisdom, kindness, compassion, honesty, joy, these qualities emerge. you would not need a law to tell you not to steal from your brother. it is just your consciousness. now, at a more amateur level,
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you need laws to tell you thou shall not do this or that, but as you leave all that you do not need that because you become liberated and available and something open to something bigger. tavis: talk about spiritual technology? >> there are spiritual practices, like a first prayer, meditation. tavis: affirmative prius? >> there is begging and beseeching . there is prayer where individuals try to change god's mind about something, and we cannot do that. what we are seeking to do is come and alignment with god, not bake him to give us what we want, but to come and alignment with god -- not to beg him to give us what we want, but to come in alignment with what god
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wants. these are all technologies that when you add them to your way of living, you become available for insight and guidance and direction. tavis: there is a passage in the bible where the father is asked to teach us how to pray. i want to connect to that now about whether you think people have not learned -- i see you smiling already. go ahead and answer. >> when you are talking about the time that his disciples were asking him how to pray? tavis: i was wondering whether you think many of us have never learned how to pray? my sense is that a bunch of us are praying, but do not know how to . >> basically, our prayer is
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predicated on our concept of god. if you think god is jealous or separated from you, taking notes like santa claus, you'll have a different kind of relationship and if you come to an awareness that jesus had when he told us that god was our father. that is a different kind of relationship. you are seeking to commune with this presence, rather than get special favors or appease this deity. tavis: you are not suggesting that that spiritual billing -- spiritual being does not condemn us when we are wrong? >> no, i am saying that god is love, intelligence, and law. if you are out of step with your thinking or actions, the law will take care of you. you will reap what you sow.
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the presence of god is not condemnation. the way it is set up, you step on your own toe, you hurt yourself, block your own creativity, but he is not coming on down on you on the mistake. when he looks at you, rather than looking at the picture, all he sees is your potential. if you don't see it, you suffer. you go down the wrong path and you had experiences that teach you things to bring you back to the right past. but he is not sitting around saying, "i will condemn tavis for making that mistake." tavis: if he loves the just and the unjust, i think i am right about this, that his love can help move us from the unjust category to the just category.
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how does that work? >> people grow through pain or insight. many people choose the path of pain. they keep bumping their head against life and begin to ask empowering questions, why is this happening over and over again. they bumped into the love of god, his grace, his mercy, forgiveness, and they embrace themselves, good, bad, indifferent, and come to the path of liberation. other people grow through in sight. they become inspired by something, they study. they're motivated to have spiritual practice and high- minded conversation, and they go from glory to greater insight. the way it is set up, you are creating your own curriculum. within that curriculum will be tries -- trials and tribulations based on your own choices. tavis: switching gears up
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somewhat, i had the honor on a couple of occasions of being given permission by you, opportunity from you to address your community at agape. you have allowed me to come to your facility, sanctuary, to share some things with your congregation . it is impossible not to know when you walk into agape -- you smile because you know where i'm going . it is hard not to enjoy it the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic the layout. dr. king and others said, the most segregated time in america is sunday morning. black folk go to their churches, white folks go to their churches, a copy is multi- cultural and multi-ethnic . what is the blessing and joey
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and that and what is the challenge? -- what is the blessing and joy in that and what is the challenge? at the people are meditating and praying together. -- >> the people are meditating and bring together. dr. king taught us that you have to deal with other people. that is taking place. on the flip side, as people come together from different cultures, agape is international. you can talk to somebody from iraq, iran, africa. it is not just black and white from america, it is all over the world. people develop a level of patience, honesty, not running away from the problem when feelings get hurt or someone is misunderstood. agape becomes a cauldron of transformation where we work that out.
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tavis: does that reality of the congregation challenge you in a unique way, or is it just a joy to stand up and deliver something that everybody gets something out of? >> it is joyful. the challenge is for people who are veterans in terms of the teachings and those who are coming for the first time. it has to be broad enough that it will hit somebody walking in the first day, and at the same time keep somebody who has been involved and their own awareness 30 years. it is not a race thing. god is god. you have buddhists, muslims, christians, everyone there. underneath that, i provide the context of universal presence that they relate to based on their own heritage. tavis: michael bernard beckwith now has a book, dvd that goes
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with it with the same name, "the answer issue," another book called -- "the answer is it you," another book called "spiritual liberation." catch me on the weekend on public radio international. i will see you back here next time on pbs. until then, good night from l.a., and as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley on tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time with am nominated actor jim parsons. that is next time. we will see you then. >> there are so many things that walmart is looking forward to doing, like helping people live better. but mostly, we're helping build stronger communities and relationships. because with your help, the best
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is yet to come. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports "tavis smiley." tavis and nationwide, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute
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Tavis Smiley
WETA February 27, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EST

Series/Special. (2010) Economist Joseph Stiglitz; Michael Bernard Beckwith, Agape International Spiritual Center. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 15, Tavis Smiley 5, Joseph Stiglitz 4, Michael Bernard Beckwith 4, America 3, Obama Administration 2, Dr. King 2, Alan Greenspan 1, Mr. Stiglitz 1, Ben Bernanke 1, Bad 1, Obama 1, Obama Economic Team 1, Fed 1, Pbs 1, Tim Geithner 1, Michael Beck 1, Bernanke 1, U.s. 1, Iran 1
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